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Unchained

posted Nov 29, 2009, 3:47 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Nov 29, 2009, 3:48 PM ]

November 29, 2009

Key Passage: Luke 2:21-40

“Unchained” 

“Nevertheless, this time of darkness and despair will not go on forever” – Isaiah 9:1.  Each year at Christmas there are people who dread the season.  There’s something about the singing, the joyful celebrations, the decorations and the exchanging of gifts that paints a stark contrast to the way some people really feel.  For some, Christmas makes them feel alone, deserted and empty.  Statistics say there are more suicide attempts at Christmas than at any other time of the year.  Talk about irony – the event that celebrates the One who came to bring life is also the event that provokes many to choose death.  Even for Christians, there are battles that many of us fight – and lose – with our health, or with our destructive attitudes and behaviors.  Many of us remain in a perpetual state of being chained to our past, our guilt, our uncertainty of the future.  Question: Is there any real reason to continue to fully engage in all of life with an open heart even if the worst of possibilities becomes the awful reality? “Nevertheless, this time of darkness and despair will not go on forever.”  Why?  5 Verses later, Isaiah answers: “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.”  As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, each of us has a question to answer: will we continue to live chained lives of frustration and disappointment, or will we be unchained by the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ?  Unto us a child is born… 

Luke 2:21-40  The Story of Simeon and Anna 

  1. Discovering evidence of God’s faithfulness (vv. 25-32;) – What these two people had in common was their confidence in God’s promises.  They knew the Scriptures.  They knew what God had said.  Is there a more important message for our society?  We live in a day when people feel God is distant and detached.  One of the Christmas messages we need to embrace is this: God keeps His promises!!!  (see John 6:37; Matthew 28:20; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:19; John 1:12)
  2. Discovering the peace we’ve all been looking for(vv. 29; 38) – We live in a world that is certainly looking for something.  Consider: the rush to counselors; the popularity of psychics; the rise of offshoot religions; the fascination with mind-altering drugs; the skyrocketing divorce rates and rampant sexuality.  Simeon and Anna found the real thing – the person they’d been waiting for.  But you can’t find Him until you embrace Him.  Like Simeon and Anna, you must literally reach out and take Christ to yourself.  (see Revelation 3:20)
  3. Discovering the true way to worship (vv. 28; 38) - There is a biblical way to offer the sacrifice of praise and these two senior citizens show us how to do it right:
    • Their praise was vocal – Simeon didn’t just see Jesus and rejoice in his heart.  He let it rip!  He opened his mouth and lifted up his voice in praise of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Their praise was visible – Simeon reached out, lifted the baby Jesus, held Him high and praised the Lord.  He wasn’t embarrassed to vocally and visibly praise his Redeemer.
    • Their praise was shared – Enter Anna.  She adds an additional element.  While Simeon lifted his hands, his heart and his voice, Anna tells others about what the Lord is doing.
  4. Discovering healing for our pain (vv. 36-38) – Listen to the pain in the words that describe Anna.  Many of us talk about how nice it would be to have some peace and quiet.  But for some people the peace and quiet in their home is deafening.  Seniors?  Shut-ins? Those all alone?
 

    Q: Have you ever been sitting in a worship service wanting to express yourself in a certain way and    felt constrained our repressed?  Why?

    Q: How does today’s passage make you feel about senior citizens, shut-ins, those all alone? 

    Bottom Line: “Jesus paid a tremendous price to be with us.  Certainly the cross was the most obvious.  But imagine what it must have been like to have been at the Father’s side one moment and struggling to sleep in a cattle trough the next.  Imagine what it would be like to go from hearing the praise of angels to suffering the taunts of stupid men.  The cost to Jesus is an indication of the incredible value of what He came to give us.  And because no one will ever fully know what that cost Jesus, we can only begin to understand the incredible value of His gift to us.” – Michael Card

    My prayer for each of us as we enter into the Christmas Season is that His gift to us would unchain us from the grip of Satan and usher us into the presence of His joy.  Have a blessed Christmas…!